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The Other Gandhi

By       Message Uri Avnery     Permalink
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Reprinted from Gush Shalom

Remarks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a special Knesset session commemorating the 14 years since the murder of MK Rehavam Ze'evi.
Remarks by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a special Knesset session commemorating the 14 years since the murder of MK Rehavam Ze'evi.
(Image by IsraeliPM, Channel: IsraeliPM)
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IN 1975, I was stabbed in the chest at the door of my apartment. The assassin missed my heart by millimeters.

He was caught by my female neighbors and arrested. It appeared he had no political motives -- he was upset because I had planted listening devices in his head.

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While in the hospital, I got a call from London. It was from the representative of the PLO, who conveyed to me the best wishes of Yasser Arafat.

A few minutes later I had a visitor: General Rehavam Ze'evi, known by his nickname Gandhi, an extreme rightist, came to see me. The hospital staff were flabbergasted.

"What gun do you carry?" he asked. I told him it was a Webley, a British service revolver.

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"Very bad," he judged. "The hammer is too exposed. Where do you carry it?" I told him that I generally carried it in my belt.

"Even worse," he remarked. "Before you can draw it, you are dead."

He showed me his own gun. It was a special revolver produced for bodyguards -- a Colt with a hammer which did not protrude from its body, so you could carry it cocked without the danger of it going off unexpectedly. "You must carry it in your hand at all times, he admonished me.

And so I did. For 15 years I had the revolver in my hand all the time except in my home and office. I developed a special way of hiding it while holding my finger on the trigger. No one ever suspected.

After 15 years, when my magazine, Haolam Hazeh, shut down, I went to the police and gave them my two handguns as a present.

I REMEMBERED this story this week, when a TV program aired an investigation into Ze'evi, disclosing that he was a murderer of prisoners, a serial rapist, an associate of prominent underworld figures and more.

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That is very embarrassing, because some years ago the Knesset passed a special law to "eternalize" the "heritage" of Ze'evi.

Why, for God's sake? Well, he was a man of the far-far Right. When Yitzhak Rabin, a man of the moderate Left, was assassinated by a Jew, such a law was passed for him. The Right wanted to have a martyr, too. They chose Ze'evi, who was assassinated 15 years ago by Arabs.

The TV program causes a headache. What to do now? Continue to "eternalize" a murderer of prisoners and, on top of that a rapist? To annul the law? Nobody knows, and there we are.

ACTUALLY, THERE was little that was new for me in the TV revelations. My relations with the man were always on several different levels. Politically, we were polar opposites. Personally, we belonged to the same group, the fighters of the 1948 war.

The relations between us started in 1953, when a group of youngsters attacked me after midnight in the street in front of my office. I had just got into my covered Jeep when they attacked me with heavy sticks. They did not succeed in dragging me out of the car, but broke the fingers of both my hands.

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Uri Avnery is a longtime Israeli peace activist. Since 1948 has advocated the setting up of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. In 1974, Uri Avnery was the first Israeli to establish contact with PLO leadership. In 1982 he was the first Israeli ever to meet Yassir Arafat, after crossing the lines in besieged Beirut. He served three terms in the (more...)
 

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